If you play ringette in Ontario, going to Provincials is big stuff.

Going for gold. Chasing the dream.

The excitement, the hype, the party – the fun.

Ringette players dress up for the opening ceremonies while socializing with opponents and team-mates.

Great fun for players.

Not so for coaches.

Don’t get me wrong. Coaches like to dress up and party as well. In fact, some coaches could be guilty of partying too much…

Coaches would like to think that the time to “bring it on” and “get it together” is the Provincial Championships.

Why is it that some teams bloom, while others wither?

The ringette coach needs a good plan and good luck. There are only so many things you can control.

Here are a few ideas to help you perform well at the Ontario Provincials, whether your team is A or AA:

  1. Take time for yourself. Get lots of rest before the event. Ease up on food and beverages that cause stress and discomfort. Find a place during Provincials to catch your breath  and clear your head.
  2. One month prior to Provincials, talk to an experienced coach about what s/he has learned about team management at Provincials.
  3. Two weeks prior to Provincials, meet with all your coaches to discuss game and bench management – roles, responsibilities, and key messages to the players.
  4. Discuss how you will manage special situations – two in the penalty box, pull the goalie to allow 4 skaters in the zone. Strive for no surprises.
  5. Set your lines and give players a few weeks to practice playing together.
  6. Although you should have a power line for special situations – overtime, short handed – let all players play. They are there to compete, challenge themselves, and make a contribution to the team. Extensive watching while others play is cruel to athletes.
  7. One week prior to the event, meet with your players in a quiet place to discuss behavioural expectations, ice-time allocation, lines, and position expectations.
  8. During Provincials, away from the rink, meet with your players and coaches each day to take stock of your tactics. Ensure messages and roles are clear. Help players learn from the experience and to make adjustments to defeat worthy opponents.
  9. Take one or two days off after the event to re-tool, and recuperate.
  10. Enjoy the Provincials. It is… fun.
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